The site of the shuttered Orchard Supply building along on S. Orlando Avenue in Winter Park is under contract with plans to turn the building into a McLaren exotic car dealership.
MCLaren Orlando LLC, led by real estate investors Chris Hardiman, Steve Parmee and Reed Knight, has the 2.38-acre site at 1111 S. Orlando Ave. under contract.
Mary Dotty Solik is the attorney representing the buyer. Ray Turchi with Marcus & Millichap is representing the owner, Lady B Orchard LLC, which is led by Palm Beach-based real estate investor Beverlee Raymond.
At a Winter Park Planning & Zoning work session Tuesday, city planner Jeffrey Briggs said the company wants to turn the vacant building, which has been lying unused along a prominent gateway into the city of Winter Park, into a luxury car dealership.
He pointed out the area has a severe parking shortage, but the proposed retail destination may be niche enough to help alleviate parking demand, because the retail shop will only sell to customers in stores by appointment only.
The site’s parking requirements already falls short by about 25 spaces, he said at the meeting. “The proposed project, is so low volume and low profile in terms of [parking] intensity... it only needs about 35 parking spots.”
The rest of the parking lot will be considered to be turned into a public park, according to Briggs. The developer is offering to maintain the same layout of the building and parking lot, and wants to convert about 22,000 square feet at the corner of Orlando and Miller Avenues into an urban green open space.
Their plans also include renovating the existing Orchard Supply building in a way that will open up the building for viewing by replacing most of its solid wall areas with glass walls to allow visibility of their luxury cars.
Inside, the existing mezzanine would be expanded to create additional second floor space within the existing roof height and dimensions of the current building.
The owner has been seeking a lower-intensity user that can function with the limited parking, but so far such propositions have only encouraged users that operate businesses like self-storage, which have been at odds with the city’s code and discouraged by staff, Briggs said.
Bronce Stephenson, Winter Park’s planning and community development director, said the city’s current comprehensive plan policies only allow town vehicle sales on the outer boundaries of the city, near Maitland.
MCLaren Orlando LLC is therefore seeking a special conditional use that will allow for “specialty transportation" businesses. They argue that because vehicle prices are so high, they stand apart from any typical vehicle sales company.
According to the super car manufacturer’s 2020 model car lineup, newer vehicles typically run up several hundred thousand dollars. It’s McLaren Speedtail model, a limited-production hypercar (only 106 will be built), cost $2.2 million. The company currently has four sales centers in Florida, the closest being in Titusville.
Under the proposed “specialty transportation business” conditional use, all products and inventory will be housed within a fully enclosed building and any repairs or other services must be conducted inside. Its criteria also states the hours will be limited to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. About 30% of the property shall be devoted to green open space.
Stephenson said he has some reservations about allowing such a business there, in fear it may bring more auto dealerships to the area.
“I’m concerned it opens a door we cannot shut,” he said at the meeting.
The item goes before Winter Park’s Planning and Zoning board members next week Monday.
Lady B Orchard LLC bought the property in 2017 for a little more than $16.9 million. Earlier that year, Minnesota-based developer Oppidan Investment Company completed building the Orchard Supply Hardware store, a former Lowe’s Companies brand.
It was Orlando’s second Orchard Supply store, but in 2018 Lowe’s Companies decided to shutter all 99 of its Orchard Supply stores, including one that was being planned in Orlando’s Fashion Square Mall at the time.
The decision left the site in Winter Park vacant and ripe for redevelopment.
MCLaren Orlando LLC isn’t the only developer looking to scoop up empty buildings in Winter Park.
Last month, GrowthSpotter reported that tech and healthcare entrepreneur Christopher Tracy wants to build a new two-story, 10,000-square-foot office development at the closed Paco’s Mexican Restaurant site along Fairbanks Avenue.